UPS employees arrested, charged with trafficking cocaine in packages, feds say

Two Texas UPS employees were accused of “knowingly” transporting cocaine inside UPS packages, federal prosecutors announced Monday. 

Orlando Candelario Almanza, 49, and Fidencio Salinas Jr., 51, were arrested late last week in McAllen and Hidalgo, Texas, respectively, court records show.

The two UPS employees were part of a drug trafficking ring that involved smuggling cocaine inside UPS packages using fake labels between March 24 and Oct. 3 2022.

Prosecutors said three other alleged co-conspirators, Javier Enrique Mendoza, 48, Jose Felipe Lozano, 58, and Enrique Bernardo Gamez, 45, were charged previously.

According to investigators:

  • Mendoza supplied the cocaine packages to Almanza and Salinas, while Lozano provided the fake labels.
  • Gamez stored the drugs at his home before transport.
  • In total, officials said they had seized 132 pounds of cocaine trafficked in the scheme.

All five men face a $10 million fine and life in prison, prosecutors said. 

“We are aware of the incident involving two UPS employees and we’re cooperating with the investigation,” UPS said in a statement to USA TODAY. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to make additional comments at this time.”

Almanza and Salinas were both due in court for arraignment and detention hearings on March 1. A federal court database showed Almanza sought to retain a lawyer Monday while Salinas requested a court-appointed attorney.

Per: USA Today


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